The trustee for Winona Memorial Hospital lost in court against the hospital’s former owner earlier this month—but not
receiving a bit of vindication from the judge in the case.
Trustee Paul Gresk had claimed Texas-based Leland Medical Center Inc. "raped" Winona by fraudulently transferring
$4 million out of Winona to Leland.
U.S. Bankruptcy Court Judge Bill Parker ruled that Gresk had failed to produce sufficient evidence on that claim, and dismissed
it. But, he said, he "actually does believe the truth of the underlying story about [Leland’s] insidious self-serving
of [Winona]," according to a transcript of Parker’s comments.
"There is reason to suspect that the cash distribution from [Winona] to Leland [was] based more on Leland’s need for
than concern about the impact of its activities on the financial viability of the Indianapolis hospital," Parker continued.
"But, that said, suspicion and innuendo [are] not a substitute for proper pleading and substantive evidence in this context."
Leland owned Winona from 2002 to 2004 and sold it to a group of doctors. Winona went bankrupt and closed in September 2004.
Indiana prides itself on being a leader in the life sciences. But when it comes to discovering and testing biotech drugs—one
of the most high-profile and potentially lucrative segments of the life sciences—Indiana just isn’t in the same league
the leading states.
Indiana can claim 16 biotech drugs in clinical development. But according to a recent report by the Pharmaceutical Research
and Manufacturers of America, a drug trade group, that’s not even close to the 136 and 133 drugs claimed by New Jersey and
California, respectively. Rounding out the top five in the study were Pennsylvania, Massachusetts and North Carolina. Indiana
Biotech drugs are drawing big bucks because some have become runaway blockbusters recently. California-based Amgen Inc.’s
Neulasta and Aranesp, for instance, each have topped annual sales of more than $4 billion.
Also, current U.S. law does not allow biotech drugs to be turned into generics, as is now done with more traditional drugs.
Historically, drugmakers made new medicines from chemistry experiments, synthesizing new molecules by combining one chemical
with another. But biotech drugs are made of proteins produced by animal cells, which can be manipulated by drug researchers.